Sidi Dhamaal set to boost tourism in Gir sanctuary

The culture of the Sidi tribe is all set to give a new dimension to tourism in the Gir sanctuary. The state government has chalked out a Rs 2.8-crore project to showcase the life of Sidis,an Afro-Indian tribe living in Junagadh.

Written by Sibte Husain Bukhari | Junagadh | Published: February 7, 2009 12:50:38 am

Rs 2.8-crore project will display Afro-Indian tribe’s culture on 25 acres of land near Sasan Gir

The culture of the Sidi tribe is all set to give a new dimension to tourism in the Gir sanctuary. The state government has chalked out a Rs 2.8-crore project to showcase the life of Sidis,an Afro-Indian tribe living in Junagadh.

The project will take shape on about 25 acres of land on the banks of Hiran river at Bhalchel village near Sasan Gir.

Junagadh District Collector Ashwini Kumar said: “The project includes an amphitheatre and a museum,which will exhibit the history of Sidis’ migration,their culture,food habits,costumes,and the famous ‘Dhamaal’ dance.”

At present,with the exception of the Asiatic lion,there is nothing which can boost the tourism potential of Gir,he said.

As of now,private hotels in the area organise Sidi cultural programmes,and ‘Dhamaal’ has already become a major attraction for the visiting tourists.

“We will offer tourists a package which will include viewing of wild life and Sidi hospitality,” said Kumar.

The project assumes significance as it will be maintained by Sidis living in and around the Gir forest. Sidis will work in the project’s museum and cafeteria as well.

Kumar said: “The craft works,costumes and everything else belonging to Sidi culture will be offered on a commercial basis to the visitors.”.

Moreover,Sidis will be given vocational training which will include training in dyeing and weaving,making of handicraft items and marketing of various products,he said.

It has also been planned to obtain assistance from NGOs and experts to improve the condition of the Sidi tribe.

The project has been sanctioned in principle and is likely to commence by the end of this year,said Kumar. Around 5,000 Sidis reside in Junagadh,Talala,Zambur and Shirwan.

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